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Hamas Is Rebuilding Its West Bank Infrastructure

Israeli forces recently found and killed the head of the Hamas cell responsible for murdering Rabbi Raziel Shevach in January. To Ron Ben-Yishai this attack, unlike other recent stabbings and shooting, was the work of professional terrorists—and is thus a sign of a Hamas resurgence:

It was immediately clear that the [attack in January] was carried out by a professional, well-trained, and well-funded terror cell that carefully chose the location of the ambush, escape routes, and hiding places for after the attack. . . . What this means is that this was no “local resistance organization” or “lone-wolf attack” but rather the act of a well-entrenched terrorism infrastructure. . . . The difference between an organized terror infrastructure and local, popular terrorism is the amount of time required for its establishment, including “executioners,” collaborators to assist them, and a well-funded command center, probably located on land not directly under Israeli control. Also necessary are effective and secretive communications channels.

In the case of the [recently uncovered] Jarrar squad—headed by members of the Jarrar family—it is now known that its members carried out a number of terror attacks before Shevach’s murder. Despite those attacks, they managed to evade discovery by Israeli security forces. . . .

In general, the infrastructure of the Jarrar cell is reminiscent of Hamas’s organization during the second intifada. . . . For some years now, we have not witnessed such phenomena and infrastructure in the West Bank. This means that Hamas has finally succeeded in creating a competent terror infrastructure—unbeknownst to the IDF and Shin Bet—because they used clandestine methods typical of an established and proficient terror underground with a competent . . . command-and-control infrastructure.

The conclusion is that the Shin Bet and the IDF must now focus more intelligence and operational efforts toward thwarting established and sophisticated terrorism of the kind that existed during the second intifada until it was crushed in 2007.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank

How the U.S. Can Strike at Iran without Risking War

In his testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Michael Doran urged the U.S. to pursue a policy of rolling back Iranian influence in the Middle East, and explained how this can be accomplished. (Video of the testimony, along with the full text, are available at the link below.)

The United States . . . has indirect ways of striking at Iran—ways that do not risk drawing the United States into a quagmire. The easiest of these is to support allies who are already in the fight. . . . In contrast to the United States, Israel is already engaged in military operations whose stated goal is to drive Iran from Syria. We should therefore ask ourselves what actions we might take to strengthen Israel’s hand. Militarily, these might include, on the passive end of the spectrum, positioning our forces so as to deter Russian counterattacks against Israel. On the [more active] end, they might include arming and training Syrian forces to engage in operations against Iran and its proxies—much as we armed the mujahedin in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Diplomatically, the United States might associate itself much more directly with the red lines that Israel has announced regarding the Iranian presence in Syria. Israel has, for example, called for pushing Iran and its proxies away from its border on the Golan Heights. Who is prepared to say that Washington has done all in its power to demonstrate to Moscow that it fully supports this goal? In short, a policy of greater coordination with Jerusalem is both possible and desirable.

In Yemen, too, greater coordination with Saudi Arabia is worth pursuing. . . . In Lebanon and Iraq, conditions will not support a hard rollback policy. In these countries the goal should be to shift the policy away from a modus vivendi [with Iran] and in the direction of containment. In Iraq, the priority, of course, is the dismantling of the militia infrastructure that the Iranians have built. In Lebanon, [it should be] using sanctions to force the Lebanese banking sector to choose between doing business with Hizballah and Iran and doing business with the United States and its financial institutions. . . .

Iran will not take a coercive American policy sitting down. It will strike back—and it will do so cleverly. . . . It almost goes without saying that the United States should begin working with its allies now to develop contingency plans for countering the tactics [Tehran is likely to use]. I say “almost” because I know from experience in the White House that contingency planning is something we extol much more than we conduct. As obvious as these tactics [against us] are, they have often taken Western decision makers by surprise, and they have proved effective in wearing down Western resolve.

Read more at Hudson

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen